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  • Shankar Thiru

Mental Health in a Time of Nationwide Crisis

Hello everyone,

Today’s topic is rather saddening, but is important to discuss. The apparent decline of the spectacle was marked by the disappearance of public executions -also marking the slackening of the hold on the body. In 1787, Benjamin Rush remarked: “I can only hope that the time is not far away when gallows, pillory, scaffold, flogging and wheel will, in the history of punishment, be regarded as the marks of the barbarity of centuries and of countries and as proofs of the feeble influence of reason over the human mind.” Soon thereafter, in 1832, France abolished branding, and in 1834, England followed pursuit. Only flogging remained in practice in nations such as England, Prussia, and Russia. Yet, generally speaking, a more reticent philosophy was embraced in regard to punitive practices and it seemed we had reached a level of humanity. No longer was the body supposedly touched, or at least to the minimum, and then only to reach something other than the body itself. From being an art of unbearable sensations, punishment evolved into an economy of imprisonment.

Yet, the hold on the body never entirely disappeared. While punishment had no doubt ceased to be centered on torture as a technique of pain, it assumed the principle object, the loss of wealth or rights, as its new vehicle with influences of racial prejudices left from the past. Punishment involving racial bias– a mere loss of liberty– has often functioned with a certain additional element of punishment that certainly concerns the body itself. This shouldn't be excused as unintentional, inevitable consequences of our history. In fact, in its many explicit practices, arresting has involved a certain degree of physical pain and unfortunately death when concerning Black American individuals: ie. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner to name a few of the many. The criticism that was often given to justify this disparity in treatment suggests a postulate that was never - but needs to be - explicitly denied: it is just that a condemned Black American person could suffer more than other people in his or her arresting.

This type of treatment has manifested in the mental well-being of Black American individuals. Mental health has always been a major crisis throughout time. We witness many suffer from it daily, including celebrities; we all sympathize with the Kate Spades and the Robin Williamses. Yet, the Black American community in the United States is no exception to the susceptibility of mental health. The trauma that the black community faced in the past (Jim Crow, Civil Rights Movement, Tuskegee Experiment) and face today (subjugation of racism, common problems to everyone) has caused for tremendous suffering. It is a truly heart-wrenching reality. This post serves as a public service announcement to remind everyone to be cognizant of the problem and try to help. Recognize that all individuals are susceptible to mental health and must be helped. Let us not only send our condolences to the Spade family or Williams family, but also to the family of Ashanti Davis, a ten-year-old girl who took her life because of bullying. To send our condolences to the family of Emmanuel Sloan, who at 19 years of age took his life by jumping in front of a train. We all deserve the ability to live and thrive in an equal manner. We are far away from that, but together we can work towards a better future because black mental health matters.

Sincerely, Soaring Minds

A link to some black mental health organizations:

Dive in Well - https://www.diveinwell.com/about

Sista Afya - https://www.sistaafya.com/

Therapy for Black girls - https://therapyforblackgirls.com/

Healhaus - https://www.healhaus.com/

Inclusive Therapists - https://www.inclusivetherapists.com/

Ethel’s Club - https://www.ethelsclub.com/

The Nap Ministry - https://thenapministry.wordpress.com/

Quadefy LLC - http://quadefyllc.net/

©2020 by Soaring Minds Incorporated